Alaska Air Group, Inc. (NYSE:ALK) was the target of a large decline in short interest in the month of August. As of August 31st, there was short interest totalling 4,182,100 shares, a decline of 38.1% from the July 31st total of 6,758,800 shares. Approximately 3.4% of the company’s stock are sold short. Based on an average daily volume of 1,060,000 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is presently 3.9 days.

A number of equities analysts have weighed in on ALK shares. Imperial Capital reaffirmed an “in-line” rating and set a $70.00 price target (up previously from $68.00) on shares of Alaska Air Group in a research report on Tuesday, August 6th. Macquarie downgraded Alaska Air Group from an “outperform” rating to a “neutral” rating and reduced their price target for the stock from $79.00 to $63.00 in a research report on Monday, July 29th. TheStreet raised Alaska Air Group from a “c” rating to a “b” rating in a research report on Thursday, July 25th. Morgan Stanley upped their price target on Alaska Air Group from $76.00 to $81.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a research report on Monday, May 20th. Finally, ValuEngine downgraded Alaska Air Group from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Thursday, August 1st. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have assigned a hold rating, six have given a buy rating and two have assigned a strong buy rating to the company. The stock currently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $73.36.

Shares of NYSE ALK traded down $0.15 during trading hours on Thursday, hitting $65.68. The company had a trading volume of 668,200 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,335,729. The stock has a market capitalization of $8.10 billion, a P/E ratio of 14.73, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 0.51 and a beta of 0.86. The company has a quick ratio of 0.61, a current ratio of 0.63 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.75. Alaska Air Group has a 1-year low of $53.39 and a 1-year high of $74.83. The firm’s 50 day moving average is $61.88 and its 200-day moving average is $60.81.

Alaska Air Group (NYSE:ALK) last released its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, July 25th. The transportation company reported $2.17 EPS for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $2.11 by $0.06. The company had revenue of $2.29 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.28 billion. Alaska Air Group had a return on equity of 16.28% and a net margin of 6.00%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 6.1% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm posted $1.66 EPS. On average, sell-side analysts predict that Alaska Air Group will post 5.89 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, September 5th. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, August 20th were issued a $0.35 dividend. This represents a $1.40 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.13%. The ex-dividend date was Monday, August 19th. Alaska Air Group’s payout ratio is presently 31.39%.

In related news, VP Kyle B. Levine sold 2,430 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, July 16th. The stock was sold at an average price of $65.00, for a total value of $157,950.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the vice president now directly owns 8,039 shares in the company, valued at approximately $522,535. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. 0.43% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Victory Capital Management Inc. raised its stake in Alaska Air Group by 63.7% in the 2nd quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 3,186,584 shares of the transportation company’s stock valued at $203,654,000 after acquiring an additional 1,239,517 shares during the period. Nuveen Asset Management LLC raised its stake in Alaska Air Group by 251.2% in the 2nd quarter. Nuveen Asset Management LLC now owns 1,616,249 shares of the transportation company’s stock valued at $103,295,000 after acquiring an additional 1,156,035 shares during the period. Parnassus Investments CA bought a new stake in Alaska Air Group in the 2nd quarter valued at $51,128,000. Thompson Siegel & Walmsley LLC raised its stake in Alaska Air Group by 65.0% in the 1st quarter. Thompson Siegel & Walmsley LLC now owns 1,812,028 shares of the transportation company’s stock valued at $101,691,000 after acquiring an additional 713,959 shares during the period. Finally, Balyasny Asset Management LLC raised its stake in Alaska Air Group by 281.4% in the 2nd quarter. Balyasny Asset Management LLC now owns 734,187 shares of the transportation company’s stock valued at $46,922,000 after acquiring an additional 541,678 shares during the period. 88.45% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

About Alaska Air Group

Alaska Air Group, Inc, through its subsidiaries, provides passenger and cargo air transportation services. The company operates through three segments: Mainline, Regional, and Horizon. It has a network of approximately 1,200 daily flights to 115 destinations across the United States, Mexico, Canada, and Costa Rica.

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